MEC seminar - 16 September 2020

  • 16 September 2020
  • 14:00-16:15
  • Microsoft Teams

The Mathematics Education Centre will host this research seminar via Microsoft Teams. Please note the link to join will be circulated a week before the event.

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&ADr. Kinga Morsanyi Ordering skills and the development of mathematics abilities” (Centre for Mathematical Cognition, Loughborough University)

Abstract: Numbers form an ordered sequence, just like the days of the week, the months (and some significant, recurring events) of the calendar year, and the letters of the alphabet. Additionally, sequencing is an important skill when performing some procedures, including everyday activities (e.g., preparing a meal, getting dressed), as well as some mathematical operations (e.g., working with multi-digit numbers, solving equations). This property of the number system has already received some research attention in the past decades, but some fundamental questions remain unanswered. In my talk, I will address some of these issues, including the questions of how ordering skills develop, how they are implicated in the typical and atypical development of maths skills, whether there is a single order processing ability, whether ordering and magnitude processing skills are related, and whether ordering skills could explain the link between maths and reading performance.

15 mins: Break

40 mins Presentation + 20 mins Q&A:Dr.Krzysztof Cipora Mathematics anxiety – a few potentially interesting questions and tentative answers” (Centre for Mathematical Cognition, Loughborough University)

Abstract: Mathematics anxiety (MA) is a set of negative feelings, some people experience when they encounter mathematics in academic and everyday context. Despite over half a century of research, we are still far from understanding of MA and its consequences. In this talk I will try to discuss the gaps in our understanding of MA and present some potential answers and research avenues.

Firstly, we do not know (nor is there any consensus) on who is maths anxious. MA is normally distributed in the population. Therefore, we need are cutoff criteria, which allow between study comparability and improve the diagnostics. In an ongoing project we are trying to build an international database of raw scores of the Abbreviated Mathematics Anxiety Scale, which aims at providing means for between study comparability, cross-cultural comparisons, and building norms for specific (sub) populations.

Secondly, we do not know whether MA equally affects all individuals: it seems that scores in MA questionnaire itself can be tapping both trait anxiety and MA. MA scores in individuals studying maths-related subjects MA correlate more with trait anxiety than with maths related variables (performance, liking etc.). This calls for elaboration of better diagnostic methods.

Thirdly, when it comes to origins of MA, the role of the teachers remains a very important issue. Elementary school teachers have very strong influence on their pupils’ learning. Our analysis suggests, that elevated level of MA can be found in elementary school teachers not only in the US but also in European countries (Poland, Germany, Belgium). However, we show very large heterogeneity in MA of elementary school teachers. Despite that, within educational systems being considered, all of them need to be teaching maths.

Fourthly, it remains unclear, whether MA spans from anxiety to being calm about maths, or rather to positive feelings related to joy, relax, or flow. The alternative is that the positive aspects can be independent from MA.

Contact and booking details

Ouhao Chen
Email address
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